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Old 11-27-2010, 06:19 AM   #1
eemsreno OP
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Rocky Mountain Adventure

Pictures and story by Steve Reno






“Dad, I wonder if this trail goes all the way to the top?”
“I don’t think so Eric. I studied all my maps before we came, and there are only three of the fifty-four 14ers in Colorado that a motorcycle can get to the top of. This is not one of them, so the trail probably ends ahead.”
Clint gives his XL600 a kick and we keep climbing as the trail gets narrower. Above timberline it seems barely wide enough for a mountain goat. As we gain altitude, we enter into a strange foggy mist with snow flurries in the air.
I’m convinced that at high altitude, your mind becomes blurred, and you just don’t think clearly. I call it high-altitude brain-fade. This would be the case with us now.
By the time I shut Lois (my XT225) off, the GPS read 14, 259. “Guys”, I say, “This is great! I can throw a rock to the top of this 14er! We could never get our bikes up there, so let’s just climb to the top so we can bag this thing.”
Right then, Clint throws his hat to the ground, stomps on it, and yells “Ouch, that stupid bee just stung me”, while rubbing the top of his head.
Then Eric said, “Listen, you can hear some bugs making clicking noises.”
Clint reached up to rub his head, and we hear the bug clicking noise again. As his hand rubs his head, it sounds as if the bug is in his jacket sleeve. When he lifts his other hand to rub his head, the sound seemed to move to that sleeve. “Wow” Clint said as he stuck his finger up into the air and it starts clicking.
Eric bursts out “THAT’S ELECTRICITY!” and I slowly start sinking to the ground.
“Let’s get out of here!” we yell simultaneously. The electricity is so thick in the air as we run twenty feet back to the bikes that the mirrors and levers are howling and vibrating.
The trial is so narrow and we are still pointed up that I have to lay Lois down on her side and drag the front wheel up the mountain and turn her around. Eric does the same with his XR250, but Clint fires up his beast, plants his feet, and does a wheelie turning the monster around on a trail that is barely a foot wide. We make it back down to timberline as fast as lightening- or as fast as Lois can go. That was the second close call we’ve had in a day and a half of our 4-day mountain adventure.


**********






The making of good adventure rides are often dreamed up while lying in bed, not able to sleep, in the middle of winter with a foot of snow outside the window. That’s the way this one started. I wanted to ride somewhere with my son, Eric, that would be more wild than any previous year’s adventures. Where else but the Rocky Mountains could you have the adventure to top all adventures? The trick is to find a friend to go with us – for bear and safety reasons- that has a bike the right size to go anywhere.
So I called my buddy, Clint, and ran by him the idea of hauling our bikes to the Rockies. We would load all our camping gear and some food on the bikes, and riding for 4 days on any road, jeep road, or trial that looks good.
Without hesitation, Clint says, “I’M IN”.

**********


Fourth of July weekend finally arrived. When we get to the Rockies, we abandon the truck as soon as possible, load up the bikes, and start the climb- or descent, as we would find out later. Our adventure starts up an old mining road that goes past log cabins, mines, and mining equipment from the 1800s that we take our time exploring. When we make it to the top of what used to be a through pass for the earliest Colorado adventurers, the views are beyond description in every direction. The trail down the west side is very narrow and steep.
“It looks like we will have to go back the way we came,” I say.
“Dad, Reno’s never backtrack. Come on!”
After checking the map and seeing that it is not a wilderness area, the trail looks good to go. It is getting late, and we need to drop way down in altitude to make camp where nights are warmer. The trial is smooth and easy going, but dangerous, as the mountain side is steep and it’s a long way to the valley floor.
We came to a ravine in the trail filled with snow. No problem, we thought, we would just lay the bikes down on their sides, and slide them down one at a time.
Without realizing it, we had just sealed our destiny. There was absolutely no way to back track. Another example of our high-altitude brain-fade.
Further down the trail, we came to another snow bank that looked impossible to cross with the bikes. The snow bank was so steep that if we slid off the bottom, we could end up in a heap 1,000 feet below the trail in the valley. We had to press on, so we took Lois first. All three of us had to pick her up and throw her, dragging and pushing her one foot at a time- usually losing two feet for every one foot that we gained.
In about an hour we had her on solid trail, totally exhausted, and with the two heavier bikes still to come. Then it started to rain, harder and harder, and then came the hail. The temperature must have dropped into the 30’s in ten minutes time.
We were soaked, exhausted and freezing when Clint came to the conclusion that we would lose the two Hondas. He had decided that he would call home and say: “Honey, we just lost two bikes, but we still have Lois.”
Eric was mumbling something about never riding in the mountains ever again, and I was trying to keep their spirits high. “Just look down this valley. The sun is shining and it is probably warm down there. If we can just get off this mountain, this nightmare will be behind us, and we will enjoy the rest of the trip.”
Hours later, we did make it out with all three bikes with a little damage, bent mirrors, and broken levers. It was 75 degrees in the valley, so we made a nice camp with a big fire.


**********

http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1290901926

Eric leading the way down the first trail.




http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1290901883

Letting Lois down easy.




http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1290905410

The Trail of no return




http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1290901725

Telling Whoppers around the camp fire that in this case are true.




Studies have shown that the number one common factor with families that stay together is camping. Yes, camping. That’s not because you sit around talking- you can do that in the comfort of your own home. It’s because when you take your family camping, a disaster always happens: the wind blows your tent down, you lose one of the kids in the woods, your boat prop gets knocked off on a rock and you drift around the lake for an hour, or the rain turns into hail. Something always goes wrong. It’s those near-death disaster experiences that draw friends and families closer together. No wonder my wife and kids love me so much! So plan those trips. The disasters will happen, then thank the Good Lord when you live through them.


**********


Once we get past the electrifying experience, we settle down into exploring mine towns, ghost town sites, and getting our wheels on top of Mt Bross’ 14,172 feet elevation- the highest mountain in North America that a motorcycle can be on the very peak. We go over Mosquito Pass, walk around Leadville (what a relic!), explore Buckskin Gulch, and find an arrastra for crushing gold ore. All things considered, I would call it our greatest adventure yet.
On the way home, I started thinking of our next adventure ride. “Eric, this was an adventure we will never forget, but next year we are buying Super Teneres and going to Deadhorse. CLINT, ARE YOU IN???”







http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1290902255

Arrastra, early miners ore crushing device.




eemsreno screwed with this post 11-27-2010 at 04:54 PM
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Photos?
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Old 11-27-2010, 05:41 PM   #3
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:02 AM   #4
eemsreno OP
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I finally can post pictures on here


Mine exploring


On top of Mt. Bross


Great trail
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:41 AM   #5
machalooney
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What's the propane torch for?
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:46 AM   #6
ct-ktm
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I never thought I would be one to preach...
Buuut...sneakers and a baseball cap..on the side of a mountain..with a kid..
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:49 AM   #7
eemsreno OP
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We use them for stoves Rugged and easy to carry
Eric was trying to cook something but the torch would'nt lite at that altitude
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:51 AM   #8
eemsreno OP
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I can't believe he won't wear a helmet eather but he isn't a kid and he's not my son
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:26 AM   #9
eemsreno OP
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Letting the XR down


One bike across two bigger ones to go rain and hail soon
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:13 AM   #10
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Awesome riding! Close call with the electricity! Moved to Day Trippin'

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Old 12-02-2010, 07:47 AM   #11
eemsreno OP
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Gadget Boy

Thanks for moving my story to the right place I seen that I put it in the wrong spot after I posted it.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:54 AM   #12
this wont hurt much
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Great story and pictures! ( i won't be taking my GS there ) Mother Nature can sure show you who's the boss in a hurry.
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:55 PM   #13
flyingz06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eemsreno View Post

Mine exploring


On top of Mt. Bross


Great trail
dude, where is your helmet!!
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:50 AM   #14
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"It’s those near-death disaster experiences that draw friends and families closer together. No wonder my wife and kids love me so much!"

I love it! Your story was great even before the picture's. However, I'm glad you added the photo's, cause I'm way to chicken to ride those trails!
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